File Configuration

Status: Experimental


File configuration provides a mechanism for configuring OpenTelemetry which is more expressive and full-featured than the environment variable based scheme, and language agnostic in a way not possible with programmatic configuration.

File configuration defines a Configuration Model, which can be expressed in a configuration file. Configuration files can be validated against the Configuration Schema, and interpreted to produce configured OpenTelemetry components.

Configuration Model

The configuration model is defined in opentelemetry-configuration using the JSON Schema.

Stability Definition

TODO: define stability guarantees and backwards compatibility

Configuration file

A configuration file is a file representation of the Configuration Model.

TODO: define acceptable file formats

TODO: define environment variable substitution

SDK Configuration

SDK configuration defines the interfaces and operations that SDKs are expected to expose to enable file based configuration.

In-Memory Configuration Model

SDKs SHOULD provide an in-memory representation of the Configuration Model. In general, SDKs are encouraged to provide this in-memory representation in a manner that is idiomatic for their language. If an SDK needs to expose a class or interface, the name Configuration is RECOMMENDED.


SDK implementations of configuration MUST provide the following operations.

Note: Because these operations are stateless pure functions, they are not defined as part of any type, class, interface, etc. SDKs may organize them in whatever manner is idiomatic for the language.

TODO: Add operation to update SDK components with new configuration for usage with OpAmp


Parse and validate a configuration file.


  • file: The configuration file to parse. This MAY be a file path, or language specific file data structure, or a stream of a file’s content.

Returns: configuration model

This SHOULD return an error if:

  • The file doesn’t exist or is invalid
  • The parsed file content does not conform to the configuration model schema.

TODO: define behavior if some portion of configuration model is not supported


Interpret configuration model and return SDK components.


  • configuration - The configuration model.

Returns: Top level SDK components:

  • TracerProvider
  • MeterProvider
  • LoggerProvider
  • Propagators

The multiple responses MAY be returned using a tuple, or some other data structure encapsulating the components.

This SHOULD return an error if it encounters an error in configuration (i.e. fail fast).